Species group: Geckos
Other common names: New Caledonian Crested Gecko; New Caledonian Eyelash Gecko; Eyelash Gecko; Crested; Crestie
Scientific name: Rhacodactylus ciliatus
The Crested Gecko’s journey from “presumed extinct” in the mid 1990’s to being one of the world’s most popular lizard pets is most unique – and fortunate for both the lizard and its fans! “Innate charm”, extreme hardiness, and the ability to thrive on a simple commercial diet render these nocturnal beauties as an ideal choice for novice and experienced keepers alike.
Crested Geckos are found only on the New Caledonian islands of Grand Terre and Isle of Pines, where they are limited to small areas of mountainside tropical rainforest. Nocturnal and arboreal, Crested Geckos forage in shrubs and trees, usually staying within 10 feet of ground level. They are threatened by habitat loss and introduced predators such as rats and ants.
Appearance / health:
The stout body is adorned with a raised crest along each side of the back, above the eyes and on some parts of the limbs. The head is uniquely-triangular in shape and the tail, which is prehensile, does not regenerate if lost. Six to eight inches long when fully grown, Crested Geckos may be red, gray, yellow brown or green in color and sport stripes, white or yellow-tipped crests or no pattern at all. A number of striking color morphs have been produced by breeders.
Given proper care, Crested Geckos are extremely hardy and may live for nearly 20 years in captivity. Intestinal blockages caused by ingested substrate or by diets high in mealworms and are sometimes a concern. Metabolic bone disease may occur in animals that are not provided with ample calcium and/or Vitamin D3.
Behavior / temperament:
Young and newly-acquired adult Crested Geckos can be skittish, and will quickly leap from one’s hand if frightened. The tail will snap off if grabbed and, oddly for a gecko, will not re-grow. Most accept gentle handling, but care must be taken to avoid unexpected leaps and falls.
An adult or pair should be provided with a 20 gallon “high style” or larger terrarium stocked with branches, plants and vines. Crested Geckos do not usually fare well in bare terrariums. Live plants provide sight-barriers, and their leaf clusters make naturalistic retreats; cork bark rolls wedged among branches also work well. The substrate may be a mix of top soil and sphagnum moss or a terrarium liner.
Crested Geckos absorb Vitamin D3 from their diet, and so do not need a UVB light source. They require a temperature gradient of 78-82 F; a dip to 72 F at night is beneficial but not essential. Large enclosures will allow your pet to thermo-regulate by moving from hot to cooler areas. This behavior is important to long-term health, and is usually not possible in small cages. Humidity should be kept at 50-75%, but there must be dry areas available as well. Males cannot be housed together. Females will establish a dominance hierarchy, so groups must be monitored carefully.
Little research has been carried out regarding the food items consumed by wild Crested Geckos. However, commercial Crested Gecko Diets have yielded excellent results used as 100% of the food intake. Pets can also be offered crickets, roaches, sow bugs, lab-reared house flies, silk worms, calci-worms and other commercially-available species, if desired, in addition to the commercial diet. Insects should themselves be provided with a nutritious diet for 1-3 days before being offered to your pets. Mealworms, implicated in intestinal blockages, should be avoided or used only when recently-molted (white in color. Insects should be powdered with a calcium/VitaminD3 supplement.
Mature male Crested Geckos exhibit a bulge (indicating the hemipenes) on either side of the cloaca. Breeders should be 12-18 months old and weigh at least 35 grams. Your pets may breed without temperature manipulation, but more consistent results will be had by subjecting them to 4-6 week period of cooler temperatures (65 F by night, 70 F by day) and a reduced day length of 8-10 hours.
The eggs, usually 2 in number, are deposited on or just below the substrate, within leaf whorls of live plants or in a cave stocked with damp moss. Females may produce eggs year-round; in such cases, a Calcium supplement should be added to the commercial diet. The eggs can be incubated in a mix of 1 part vermiculite to 1 part water (by weight) at 70-76 F for 65-120 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
good eaters, mild temperment, gorgeous colors, stunning specimens, colorful beauties
impactions, nocturnal lizard, husbandry, fat tails, defense mechanism, handling, proper nutrition
eyelashes, gigantic eyes, change color, arboreal animals, convenient powdered diet
"I am a freelance journalist, multimedia producer, and a full time student. I also work part-time at a social media company and volunteer ten hours a week at a civil liberties group. I am also directing two short documentary films. In my spare time, I am training for a sprint triathlon and I do odd media jobs here and there. Needless to say, I am one busy gal. <br><br>I also happen to love animals. If I had the money and time to open an animal sanctuary, I’d jump right on it. But there is a key word here – time. As a busy professional, I don’t have very much time to care for an animal. But without a pet, my life seems somewhat incomplete. So that led me to go on a search for the perfect low maintenance pet that suits my lifestyle and fulfills my desire for an animal companion. <br><br>I then came across a website dedicated to crested geckos. I learned that these little creatures are incredibly low maintenance, hardy, and easy to handle. Unlike other species of lizards, crested geckos don’t need any special lighting. Their diet is easy to maintain as well – I feed my gecko crickets once a week and pre-mixed gecko food every other day. My gecko’s terrarium is lined with paper towels, which needs to be changed only once a month, and changing it is a matter of minutes. Crested gecko’s need to live in a humid environment but maintaining humidity is super easy as well! I give my gecko’s terrarium a light misting before I fly out the door and another misting when I return home from a busy day. Crested geckos are also easy to handle unlike other species of lizards, which can be faster or more aggressive.<br><br>That’s why, in my opinion, crested geckos are the best pet if you are looking for something low maintenance. Unlike a cat or dog, which need a lot of care and attention, crested geckos will do their own thing. I would say keeping a crested gecko is even easier than keeping tropical fish! No need for fussy filters or lighting! They are beautiful, little creatures that are fun to watch jumping around in their terrarium. My own gecko is orange and is named Charmander after the also orange lizard in the popular cartoon, Pokemon. I love my crested gecko!."
From LizardQueen Sep 8 2015 9:22PM
"Crested Gecko's are strange creatures. For a long time they were believed to be extinct until they were re-discovered in 1994 on a remote island. Since their rediscovery they have thrived in numbers and this can only be down to how easy they are to keep as pets.<br><br>My experiences of them lead me to believe that:<br><br>Crested Gecko's enjoy being handled and entertained. They easily grow accustomed to being picked up when handled regularly. <br><br>Crested Gecko's have an easy environment to mimic, When kept as Pets in the UK they rarely need an external heat source as most houses are the correct temperature at which they do well. They need a decent sized vivarium, that is kept moist and offers a wide array of carefully placed plants and wood to offer them the chance to get hidden away and explore.<br><br>They can eat either powdered gecko food or live crickets. Both of mine didn't like live food choices so they were fed on the powdered food and a calcium substitute. They did well with this.<br><br>Gecko's should be handled regularly, they should be kept in a clean environment and they should be fed the right food; I would suggest that, although Gecko's make easy and amazing starter reptiles, they probably shouldn't be taken on by someone who doesn't have the spare time to offer them. <br><br>Oh and on another note. It is probably best not to house 2 males together as they tend to fight as they would in the wild.."
From ThomasDavis May 20 2015 3:12AM
"I've been told that crested geckos are good pets for families. This is probably because they don't have sharp claws like some lizards and they rarely bite. (I've never been bitten by one.) I did love the feel of their soft little feet and it was fun to watch them clean their eyes with their tongues but... <br><br>I wouldn't say that crested geckos are a good pet for families. Not with small children, anyway. Like a lot of lizards, the gecko will drop its tail if it feels threatened but, unlike other lizards, its tail won't grow back! If you handle your gecko too roughly, you'll end up with a stubby little lizard!<br><br>We got Dante from a colleague when he was eight months old and my mother-in-law brought home Faust six months later. They were both brilliantly coloured and wonderful to look at. One of the most wonderful things about crested geckos is that they come in so many varied designs and colours (morphs). Dante was a Red Dalmatian crested gecko while Faust was a Yellow Fire crested gecko. It's hard to say which one was prettier! <br><br>Sadly, though, we didn't get to see Dante and Faust much - and that's what convinced us that the crested geckos weren't for us. Being night owls, we weren't worried about them being nocturnal (another reason I wouldn't call them family pets); we figured we'd get to see them often. That wasn't the case. Ours spent most of their time hiding and, even though they didn't mind being handled, they wouldn't come over to us the way that a beardie would.<br><br>Their diets are unusual because it's mostly powder based (with very small insects thrown in). We found that they preferred baby food over the powdered stuff - don't forget to keep using the supplements, though! - so it was fun trying them with different fruit purées to see what they liked best.<br><br>We're normally pets-are-for-life kind of people but, after less than two years, we decided that it was time for Dante and Faust to move on. They just weren't active enough for us and we didn't want to neglect them. If, like us, you want a lizard that does a lot, the crested gecko might not be the best choice.."
From witchybelle4u2 Jun 5 2015 6:13AM